A Walk in the Woods

Wow, the woods have come alive after a loooooonnnngggg, winter. Just feet into McDonald Woods you will be greeted by a variety of amazing spring flowers. These include spring beauties, cutleaf toothwort, purple cress, marsh marigold, trillium, Virginia bluebells, wild ginger, trout lily, rue-anemone, and many more. Take a few minutes to enjoy the bounty through the end of May. Once the trees get all their leaves, the spring flowers begin to fade. They bloom now to take advantage of the extra sun that reaches the ground before the trees take over.

PHOTO: White trout lily
White trout lily (Erythronium albidum)
©Carol Freeman

To get great photos of these flowers you will do best with a close-up lens, as many of the flowers are small. Also, be prepared to get a little muddy as most of these flowers are low to the ground. I like to shoot level with the flowers to minimize distractions, which means sitting down or even laying down to get the shot. Be sure to stay on the path as the habitat is fragile. There are great plants close to the path so there are plenty of photo opportunities. For more pleasing compositions look for simple backgrounds, and flowers that stand apart from the others.

PHOTO: Cutleaf toothwort
Cutleaf toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)
©Carol Freeman
PHOTO: Purple cress
Purple cress (Cardamine douglassii)
©Carol Freeman
PHOTO: Spring beauty
Spring beauty (Claytonia virginica)
©Carol Freeman
PHOTO: Rue-anemone
Rue-anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) ©Carol Freeman


PHOTO: Virginia bluebells
Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
©Carol Freeman
PHOTO: Bloodroot
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
©Carol Freeman
PHOTO: Marsh marigold
Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris)
©Carol Freeman

©2013 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Spring Woodland Wildflower Walk

What’s a spring ephemeral? Ecologist Jim Steffen tells us about a few of the spring blooming wildflowers you can see blooming in McDonald Woods right now. As Jim says, there is always something in bloom in the woods, but spring is one of the showiest in this area, so don’t miss it! Visit http://www.chicagobotanic.org/walk/mcdonald_woods.php for more information on the woods.